"Drove the F-Sport, bought the Luxury package."4.5 starson by gkcmilner
Pros: Much better value than it's competitors
Read my review
Cons: A couple cheap feeling parts
A couple features missing
Summary: First I would like to point out a couple errors in the Cnet review:Writing a review during an insomnia attack is not recommended, as the grammatical and spelling errors in my above review clearly illustrate. My apologies to the erudite, and those that have respect for proper English and the written language.
eDestination is not new, it's been out since 2009 (model year 2010).
Navigation does have text to speech. It will say the street names. If they were referring to reading text messages, the car will do that too, but the phone has to support Bluetooth MAP (message access profile). The iPhone does not support that, but many Android and Blackberry phones do.
iPhone does not need to be connected through USB for use with Enform App suite. Blackberry is also supported.
In the Cnet video review they also said that to get the AVS (Adaptive Variable Suspension) you had to get the F-SPort; not true. The Luxury package also gets AVS. I think what they meant was LDH (Lexus Dynamic Handling). That will give you AVS, VGS (variable gear ratio steering), DRS (dynamic rear steering) and is only available on the F-sport.
It's a shame they only got to test the AWD because the RWD is the more fun car on the track. It exhibits less understear and the car rotates through the turns so nicely it really puts the BMW 5-series to shame (I got to drive both back-to-back on the track). The Lexus stability control was much less intrusive.
As much fun as the F-Sport was on the track, I bought the Luxury package because it had more features that I thought would benifit me more in my real world commute. One thing especially is those 18-way adjustable seats for both driver and passenger. The F-Sport gets 16-way driver and only 10-way for the passenger (WHY?). I do wish they offered the cabernet leather in the luxury because it looks SHARP. Although I do love the quality of the semi-aniline leather in the luxury (remakably soft). I also really appreciate the additional sunshades for rear passengers and the true 3-zone climate control (not only is the temperature independant, but vent selection is too).
Selecting Sport S + on the F-Sport feels firmer than on the Luxury, but it might just be the 19" wheels vs. the 18" on the Luxury. It's definately firm enough to have occasional fun on the commute. In normal mode the ride is sublime.
I really like the engine in this car. I prefer it over the turbocharged BMW engine. I have always been a BMW fan (had 7 of them) but on the track I found the turbo inline 6 to me a bit frustrating when exiting slow, sharp turns. There was lag and the boost would kick in (and it was strong) right when it was time to slow down again. Plus the Lexus engine sounds much better (they use a similar trick to what BMW has used to get a nice engine sound into the cabin).
Cnet says they would like to see only direct injection on this engine, but the current setup has its advantages. Using direct injection and port injection simultaneously facilitates more precise mixing of air and fuel under low and medium load conditions for greater efficiency, while high load conditions dictate the use of direct injection alone for maximum power.
I agree that the transmission might benefit from an extra cog or two. The gas mileage is just OK, but my car is still green, plus I enjoy listening to that engine a little more than I should. It would have been really nice if they would have put the IS-F 8-speed in this car (maybe just the F-Sport). That transmission is phenomenal. The car has plenty of power, and when placed in manual mode the transmission will do just what you ask, when you ask. I prefer the paddle shifters on the column, but I guess the steering wheel is more common.
It's not a perfect car though. There are a couple areas that irritate me. One is the moon roof sunshade; it feels really cheap (like Toyota Corolla cheap) and is just out of character in this car. The moonroof sunshades in the competitors are much nicer, and are either powered, or have vents in them so that when you tilt the moonroof up you can leave the sunshade closed. The other is that the trunk really needs to be slammed (there is no power option, or even assistance like on the previous GS. It is really annoying when your arms are full and you have to put everything on the ground just to close the trunk. Another irritation is that mirrors don't power fold in. The Kia Optima has power fold in mirrors.
All-in-all, this car suited me much better than the others in this class. And comparably equipped, about $10,000 less than the BMW 535i (it's actually less than a comparably equipped 528i). Plus I have the luxury of knowing that it is less likely than any other to give me reliability issues.
Updated on May 3, 2012
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